By the Roots: Struere: to build

Many words are constructed from the Latin root "struere," meaning "to build" or "to assemble." Whenever you see "struct" or "stru" built in to a word, think of how the word relates to the concept of building.

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definitions & notes only words
  1. construct
    make by combining materials and parts
    Poorly constructed buildings have long been a problem in Bangladesh.
    Because the prefix "con-" means "with" or "together," and the root "-struct" means "to build" or "to assemble," the word "construct" is itself an example of its own meaning. The word "constructive" has a positive connotation. You may have heard the term "constructive criticism," which refers to the kind of criticism that is intended to rebuild, or reconstruct, a person in a more positive way. Still, any kind of criticism is likely to sting a little, no matter how constructive it is.
  2. destructive
    causing damage
    The existing sea wall, built in 1963 after a destructive storm, saved many large homes from being washed away by Sandy.
    Because the prefix "de-" means, in this case, "removal" ("dehumidify," "defame," "dehumanize"), and the root "-struct" means "to build or "to assemble," we speak of destructive forces as being capable of destroying, or "unbuilding." Although the word "destruct" does exist, we usually use "destroy," except when we say that something will "self-destruct."
  3. instrumental
    serving or acting as a means or aid
    Though his scoring mattered little in the blowout loss Sunday, Green was instrumental in Virginia Tech’s comeback Saturday night.
    When we speak of someone being instrumental in bringing about some kind of result, we mean that they helped to build it, not that they played a musical instrument during the process. To be instrumental is to be a means of building something, just as a musical instrument is a means of delivering music.
  4. construe
    make sense of; assign a meaning to
    At times we said nothing to each other for days on end that could be in any way construed as interesting.Bartlett, Paul Alexander
    To "construe" is to build mental meaning, to interpret. "Construe" and "construct" are closely related, with "construe" having the narrower meaning of referring only to the way the mind assembles meaning out of evidence and background knowledge.
  5. misconstrue
    interpret in the wrong way
    Two days later, James backed away from the comments, saying they had been misconstrued.New York Times (Dec 31, 2011)
    In the last act of "Julius Caesar," Brutus expresses his despair as he stands his soon-to-die buddy Cassiusl. "Thou hast misconstrued everything," he laments. Indeed, it was Brutus who misconstrued Cassius's motivatation for the assassination of Caesar. Whether tragical or comical, misinterpretations between characters are the stars of the show.
  6. structural
    relating to the composition of something
    In other words, nothing structural can be inferred from the current level of business profits.Forbes (Mar 6, 2013)
    When people refer to "structural changes" or "structural reform," they are referring to the basic elements of a system, its bones, how it is built from the ground up. Sometimes the word "systemic" is used in this context, to refer to the entire system, not just the edges of it.
  7. obstruction
    any structure that makes progress difficult
    They are expected to face obstruction of justice charges, the sources said.Salon (May 1, 2013)
    An obstruction is a blockage. A speed bump is a physical obstruction. Obstruction of justice occurs when a witness deliberately blocks the progress of the legal system by refusing to answer legitimate questions asked by officers of the court.
  8. infrastructure
    the basic features of a system or organization
    “We have 18 critical infrastructures in the United States: water, food, electricity and so forth.Forbes (Apr 26, 2013)
    The inner workings of a complex, constructed system are often referred to as its infrastructure. Buildings themselves, along with their walls, stairwells, elevators, and ventilation systems are part of the infrastructure of a city, as are roads, along with bridges and tunnels, and the electrical grid, including telephone lines.
  9. constructive
    tending to improve or promote development
    "If this helps provoke constructive debate," he said, "I've done my job."
    While the word "construction" connotes a physical building of some sort, the word "constructive" usually refers to words and attitudes. A constructive attitude is a positive attitude, one that leads to persistence and productivity. A constructive debate is one that will result in positive changes and compromise, rather than just argument. And, although no one really welcomes it, constructive criticism is done with kindness and a genuine believe that you can change for the better.
  10. restructure
    form anew
    The restructuring could be finished within three years as the soonest.
    To restructure is to start over again, reorganizing and rearranging. In business, when companies restructure, employees often lose their positions, get new bosses, have to work different hours, and may be expected to do different kinds of work.

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